International Women’s Day 2016 #PledgeForParity

International-Womens-DayInternational Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day – observed globally, also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

IWD has been observed since the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical changes… like women in the work force! Women worked outside the home in factories, on farms, in offices, as teachers and much more. Of course they earned far less than men, no matter that their work was often exactly the same. And their work was precarious and often dangerous.

In 2016 the value of women’s work cannot be denied or debated and the issues of gender parity, equal access, and pay equity cannot be ignored. Even today, depending on where they live, *Canadian women  earn between 74¢ and 82¢ for every dollar a man earns doing work of the same value.  For indigenous women and women of colour, the wage gap is even greater. The World Economic Forum estimates that it will take until 2133 for the world to entirely closes the economic gender gap.

“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights” Gloria Steinem

Everyone – men and women – can pledge to take concrete steps to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.

International Women’s Day is about celebration, reflection, advocacy, and action – both globally and at the local level. Join the international call for gender equality; do your part, take the pledge.   Add your voice  by using the hashtag #PledgeForParity      If you are in Whitehorse, make sure you pop by the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre to help them celebrate their 40th Anniversary on March 8th, and visit Yukon Women in Trades & Technology’s IWD Celebration with Yukonstruct. We’re overdue for action and we are overdue for parity.

On International Women’s Day and beyond, 
I pledge to …

Until there is true equality for women in all areas of our lives, there will be more work to do.

PledgeForParity-1

Together for Safety

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May 29th 2015 marked the start of a new relationship between women in Whitehorse and the RCMP.  Since 2013, Whitehorse women’s groups and the RCMP have collaborated to create an RCMP Safety Protocol entitled Together for Safety, with the shared goal of improving response services to women in Whitehorse.

In response to a recommendation in the Police Commission report, Yukon women’s advocacy groups formed a coalition to help create the TFS Protocol. Signatories include Les Essentielles, Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle, Yukon Status of Women Council, the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre, the PSAC Regional Women’s Committee and the PSAC Yukon Aboriginal People’s Committee. The work and collaboration took place over a year, ensuring the many voices were reflected in the finished product.

PSAC member Linda Moen was invited to represent both the Regional Women’s Committee & the Yukon Aboriginal People’s Committee on the newly formed coalition. Linda is a Federal employee, a mother and an aboriginal woman who lives in her First Nation community. Honoured and a bit apprehensive, Linda decided she had the support she needed from the committees to take on the task. She quickly learned that she had much to offer the discussion and learned a lot from the process.

When the Together for Safety Protocol was signed on May 29th  2015, Linda signed on behalf of both committees. As the Protocol takes effect, Linda hopes the spirit of the agreement informs interactions between the women of Whitehorse and the RCMP.

YEU wants to thank Linda Moen, the PSAC Regional Women’s Committee and the Yukon Aboriginal Peoples’ Committee for taking on this role in our community. It’s good to know this is the work our Union is doing, through the dedication and commitment of the committees and their members.

Domestic Violence at Work | Canadian Labour Congress

Domestic Violence at Work | Canadian Labour Congress.

initial findings on domestic violence survey

Canadian employers lose $77.9 million annually due to the direct and indirect impacts of domestic violence, and the costs, to individuals, families and society, go far beyond that. However, we know very little about the scope and impacts of this problem in Canada.

The Canadian Labour Congress partnered with researchers at the University of Western Ontario and conducted the first ever Canadian survey on domestic violence in the workplace. We did this because there is almost no data on this issue in Canada and we know that women with a history of domestic violence have a more disrupted work history, are consequently on lower personal incomes, have had to change jobs more often, and more often work in casual and part time roles than women without violence experiences.

Being a perpetrator of domestic violence also significantly impacts a worker and their workplace. A recent study found that 53% of offenders felt their job performance was negatively impacted, 75% had a hard time concentrating on their work, and 19% reported causing or nearly causing workplace accidents due to their violent relationship. Their behaviours lead to a loss of paid and unpaid work time, a decrease in productivity, and safety hazards for their co-workers.

Here are some of the things we learned from this survey:

Experiences of Domestic Violence

prevalence and gender

A third (33.6%) of respondents reported ever experiencing domestic violence from an intimate partner, and there were differences by gender (figure 2).

Aboriginal respondents, respondents with disabilities, and those indicating a sexual orientation other than heterosexual (e.g., lesbian, gay or bisexual) were particularly likely to have reported experiencing DV in their lifetime. In terms of indirect domestic violence experience, 35.4% of respondents reported having at least one co-worker who they believe is experiencing, or has previously experienced, domestic violence and 11.8% reported having at least one co-worker who they believe is being abusive, or has previously been abusive, toward his/her partner.

The Impact of DV on Workers and Workplaces

DV in the workplace

Of those who reported DV experience, 38% indicated it impacted their ability to get to work (including being late, missing work, or both).

In total, 8.5% of DV victims indicated they had lost their job because of it.  

Over half (53.5%) of those reporting DV experiences indicated that at least one type of abusive act occurred at or near the workplace. Of these, the most common were abusive phone calls or text messages (40.6%) and stalking or harassment near the workplace (20.5%; Figure 3).

Ultimately, stronger evidence will help to shape legislation, policies, and practices that promote violence prevention and safety in workplaces, that hold abusers accountable for their behaviour, and that lift the burden from victims so they need not deal with domestic violence alone.

Disclosure of DV in the Workplace and Support Received

Overall, 43.2% of those experiencing DV reported they discussed it with someone at work. There are apparent differences according to gender, with men being particularly unlikely to discuss domestic violence at work.  Among all respondents, 28% said they had received information about domestic disclosure of dv in the workplace

violence from their employer. Among unionized respondents, 27.2% received information about domestic violence from their union.

Only 10.6% of all respondents think that employers are aware when domestic violence is affecting their workers, but among those who said yes, 62.3% believe employers act in a positive way to help workers experiencing domestic violence. Similarly, only 11.3% of all respondents think union officials are aware when domestic violence is affecting members, and among them, 86.6% believe unions act in a positive way to help members.

Where do we go from here?

This research has identified the scope and impact of domestic violence on workers and workplaces, but is only a first step. Immediate next steps include encouraging use of these results by governments, unions and employers to establish proactive practices to address the impact of domestic violence at work. Some immediate changes in the labour movement include:

The Yukon Teachers’ Association has negotiated special leave that can be used when workers need time off due to domestic violence.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has a network of social stewards who are provided training to develop listening skills, learn about available resources, and assist in prevention of a range of difficulties, including family-related problems. The program is particularly effective in Quebec.

Download the entire report and learn more about what we are doing on this issue.

YEU Human Rights Speaker Series 2014

We are very excited to announce this year’s Human Rights Speaker Series. December 9-12 we offer noon hour presentations addressing human rights & social justice issues which impact our communities every day.  Please join us for lunch as we explore these topics with panelists who really understand the issues.

December 9: Dating Violence: Red Flags & Resources

This discussion will focus on the reality of violent teen and young adult relationships.  We’ll hear some statistics, consider some red flags and talk about what resources exist in our community. How do you tell if your relationship is healthy? What do you do when a friend is in trouble or you suspect your friend is a bad date?  We welcome an outreach worker from the RCMP, a youth worker from BYTE and a representative of the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre.

December 10: Housing & Homelessness: What’s at stake, what can we do?

The effects of precarious housing are far reaching. Homelessness is not exclusive to those we deem hard to house, and it affects people across our societal spectrum. We welcome your input in a discussion of the challenge of homelessness. This is not a problem that affects only those who struggle with homelessness; a community that can’t offer its citizens safe and affordable housing cannot grow to its full potential. We’ll have Kate Mechan, an expert from the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition, Charlotte Hrenchuk of the Yukon Status of Women Council and the insight of a Whitehorse resident who has lived the experience of being without secure housing.

December 11: Who Feeds Us? Yukon Farmers, Yukon Food!                                                       2014 has been named “Year of the Family Farm” by the United Nations.

Food Security is a buzz phrase we hear often, especially when a highway goes out or a truck breaks down on its way to us; Yukoners depend heavily on food from “away”.  There is a growing movement toward improved sustainability and local production. We welcome pioneer organic farmer, Yukon’s Farmer of the Year for 2014, Mary Girouard of Rivendell Farms.  Tom & Simone Rudge of Aurora Mountain Farms will also be at the table.  As well as his efforts at the family farm, Tom Rudge is a passionate advocate for a GMO Free Yukon, while Simone’s research at the Yukon College’s Northern Research Greenhouse will inform Yukon agriculture for many seasons to come. Matt Ball  is a professional agrologist with the Yukon Government Agriculture Branch. He works closely with many of the farmers in the territory on aspects of soils, fertilizers, growing conditions, research, and market opportunities.  Matt has spent most of his life in the Yukon and drives to help build the agriculture industry so we have local food on our plates and a diversified economy.

December 12: Strong Women Take the Lead

We invite you to a great round table chat with some strong women leading the way. Whitehorse United Church Minister Bev Brazier, Kate White, MLA for Takhini-Kopper King, Educator & advocate for aboriginal youth Marilyn Jensen, and entrepreneur & community leader Patti Balsillie and  will share some of their experiences and ideas on leadership for women. Each representing entirely different types of leadership, we look forward to an interesting and active discussion.

These events are FREE & open to everyone. Seating is limited as our meeting room has a capacity of 45. We are pleased to offer a complimentary simple lunch each day provided by the Bird House Bakery.  If you have any questions please call us at 667-2331.

If you plan to bring a group PLEASE let us know in advance so we can ensure there is adequate seating available.

All presentations will take place in the YEU Hall, Lucy Jackson Training Room downstairs.  Please, join the event on Facebook and we’ll see you there!